VisionLink Blog

By Ken Gibson

December 07, 2016

Priority #1 for 2017: Define Your Performance Framework


According to PwC’s 2016 global CEO survey, most chief executives entered this year with less optimism about the business environment than the previous three years.  Pessimism and uncertainty were prevalent in their responses.  When the global consulting firm gathers its results for 2017, it remains to be seen whether a level of optimism will emerge post-election, at least from CEOs in the United States--and whether any expression of surging enthusiasm will have an "optimistic but cautious" modifier associated with it.  

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By Ken Gibson

December 01, 2016

Secrets of an Effective Millennial Pay Strategy


Most of us like to put things in nice, neat categories.  It makes life simpler because generalizations are easier to digest and accept.  However, when it comes to people, categories can be dangerous.  Just when we think we have a group “pegged,” someone does something out of the norm and ruins our model.  This is a particular problem when it comes to Millennial employees—a group that has been labeled perhaps more than any other in today’s workforceThose labels often come in the form of myths, which impact the way business leaders think about paying and managing this unique group of high-potential contributors.

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By Ken Gibson

November 29, 2016

Employee Retention: 4 Reasons You Risk Losing Your Best People


It is both the best of times and the worst of times to lead a business these days.  If you’re a CEO, president or enterprise owner, you see limitless possibilities for company growth (best of times) but you’re underperforming (worst of times).  You have a great product (best of times) but not all the talent you need to fully leverage your business model (worst of times).  You have great ideas for innovation (best of times) but shareholders are asking you to cut costs (worst of times).  And just as you’re about to launch a market initiative that could literally double your revenue (best of times) the person leading that project walks in and tells you he’s leaving (worst of times).  

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By Ken Gibson

November 22, 2016

The 6 Secrets of a Performance Culture


Here’s a little quiz.  How would you describe the culture you will need to achieve the growth goals your organization has set?  Perhaps your answer would include one or more of the following: employees are as committed to the future company as owners are; we have catalysts that can significantly impact the growth trajectory of our business and we are a magnet for premier talent; we have clear roles and targets and our people assume stewardship for both; our workforce is fully engaged at all levels of the company, or; there is complete operational alignment with the organization’s business model and strategy.  Whether or not your answer includes those characteristics, I assume you would be stoked if, in fact, they were descriptive of your company's culture. 

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By Ken Gibson

November 15, 2016

CEO Playbook: 5 Steps to Building a Killer Pay Strategy


It’s hard to believe, but year-end is upon us.  You are likely making plans to ensure 2017 will be a bigger and better year than 2016.  Chances are you are assessing your talent, appraising your company’s performance, setting budgets, defining targets and otherwise making sure all forces are aligned to ensure a record year.  And oh yeah, there’s also the compensation plan.  Hmmm…it’s getting similar scrutiny, I assume?  You’re confident it’s going to help drive the growth you’ve envisioned and not be an impediment, right?  RIGHT? 

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By Ken Gibson

November 08, 2016

The 4 Parts of a Competitive Pay Strategy


Too often, business leaders discover their compensation offering is inadequate when it’s too late.  They lose a key player to another organization that has offered her a “better deal” or fail to secure a top recruit because their value proposition just isn’t compelling.  In short, a pay strategy cannot be an afterthought.  It has to be approached strategically and comprehensively or you will fail in attracting, developing and retaining premier talent.  So, let’s explore what a competitive rewards offering should include.

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By Ken Gibson

November 01, 2016

Why Do So Many Incentive Plans Fail?


It is no secret that business leaders running companies of any size struggle with how to develop an effective incentive plan.  For many, it is the bane of their existence.  They roll out incentive plan after incentive plan—ever searching for, but seldom finding, the magic formula for success.  It’s frustrating.  Because I “feel your pain,” I’d like to help.  Let’s explore why so many incentive plans fail—and what we can do to make them more successful. 

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By Ken Gibson

October 26, 2016

The CEO Worry List


If you run a business, you worry.  And if you work closely with the CEO of a business, you will want to understand and respond to what that person worries about.  The issues that rise to the level of concern for most chief executives are things that are likely to impede their company’s ability to perform and grow at a rate commensurate with its potential.  While those specific factors differ from company to company, there are some universal concerns most in business leadership share.  And many of those issues have to do with talent and the most effective ways to drive higher performance from their people.  

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By Ken Gibson

October 18, 2016

Why Every Company Should Have a Long-Term Incentive Plan (LTIP)


For ages, business leaders have struggled with whether or not they should have a pay plan in place that rewards long-term value creation.  They wonder if they need a plan in order to attract the right kind of people.  They wonder whether it will have an impact on the performance of that talent once it’s at work in the business.  They wonder what kind of plan is appropriate for their company.  They wonder who should be included in the plan.  They wonder what performance metrics should drive plan payouts.  They wonder if they can “afford” such a plan and what it will “cost” them.   All that wondering creates paralysis—often leaving the company with no plan at all.  And the wondering cycle starts all over again. 

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By Ken Gibson

October 13, 2016

The Death of Performance Management: Confronting the Challenges


This article is a sequel to my post earlier this week entitled: Pay and the Abandonment of Performance Management.

Ever increasing numbers of businesses are learning and adopting better ways of managing the performance of their people. The momentum is rapidly moving away from traditional annual appraisals and other performance management systems in favor of more regular and informal feedback sessions.  As indicated in my previous post, organizations are finding a more fluid approach better suits the rapid change environment in which businesses operate in the 21st century.  However, all is not nirvana as this disruption occurs.  Many challenges have to be anticipated and effectively addressed as companies make the transition to a new way of performance monitoring and assessment—especially as it relates to pay for performance issues.

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By Ken Gibson

October 10, 2016

Pay and the Abandonment of Performance Management


If you’ve been paying attention, you know that an increasing number of businesses worldwide are abandoning long-standing performance management systems and philosophies in an attempt to address the constantly shifting climate of talent acquisition, development and retention.  A recent Harvard Business Review article summarizes the reason for this trend:

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By Ken Gibson

October 03, 2016

Should CEOs Expect Pay to Improve Employee Accountability?


It’s an interesting question.  And by the way, the answer is yes.  Employees should indeed feel a greater sense of accountability as a result of how they are paid--and it's something chief executives should be able to expect.  If that notion seems ambitious or out of reach to you, then you are likely restricting the impact a comprehensive pay approach can have.  So let’s talk about how to create a greater link between compensation and the level of stewardship your people assume for the outcomes you expect them to achieve.

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By Ken Gibson

September 28, 2016

Wells Fargo Lesson #2: Pay Must be "Trust-Worthy"


For Wells Fargo Lesson #1, see last week’s blog.

The heart of a competitive advantage is a culture of confidence.  Such a culture emerges in companies that have developed success patterns to a point of such sustainability that the "flywheel effect" has kicked in, as Jim Collins describes in his book Good to Great.  There is momentum and your people know it; and they know it because they are driving it. Such a business has a competitive advantage because a culture of confidence is not "copyable."  It is an outgrowth of having all the human elements working in a unified, passionate fashion within a company.  Think Disney.  Think Apple.  Think any great company.  Unfortunately, you can no longer think Wells Fargo—and that’s a shame. 

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By Ken Gibson

September 22, 2016

The Wells Fargo Lesson: Bad Pay Practices Produce "Bad Profits"


On September 8, 2016, the New York Times reported this about Wells Fargo:

For years, Wells Fargo employees secretly issued credit cards without a customer’s consent. They created fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services.  They set up sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees. 

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By Ken Gibson

September 13, 2016

How CEOs Should Measure Pay Strategy Success


When members of our firm first meet with prospective clients, we will often be asked something like this: "What results have your clients achieved because of the compensation plans you have helped them implement?"  While that seems like a reasonable question, in truth, it misses the mark.  You cannot typically draw a straight line between the way people are paid and the results a business achieves.  The better question is: "How do you measure the success of a compensation strategy?" or "What determines a successful pay plan?"  Let me explain the distinction I'm trying to make.

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CLIENT SUCCESS STORIES

"VisionLink has helped us successfully navigate a number of complex issues regarding our rewards programs. It has dealt with all facets of these varied issues with a high degree of competence, integrity, and straight forward advice. VisionLink's experienced team has consistently delivered first class results in a timely, professional manner and has become a valued Storm partner."

Thomas K. Grzywacz
Storm Industries, Inc.

"VisionLink has helped us successfully engineer a long-term incentive plan that has empowered our company to reward and retain key talent while increasing shareholder value. The knowledge, patience and deep experience of its team members helped us navigate a road that was unfamiliar to us. Ultimately, VisionLink designed a plan that met the high standards of both stockholders and key management employees. We have further engaged VisionLink to address our business succession and transition planning needs."

Reggie Dupre'
Dupre Logistics

"Over the past several years, National Technical Systems has engaged VisionLink to provide insight and direction on a number of executive compensation issues, as well as a performance evaluation of our 401(k) plan. Under its direction, NTS completely revamped executive level rewards to align with our business growth objectives and the strategic plan of the company. VisionLink's insight and direction have been invaluable. NTS has achieved its growth objectives and our executives feel appropriately rewarded for their performance."

Bill McGinnis
National Technical Systems

"VisionLink arrived on the scene just in time for us. We needed a new framework for our short-term and long-term incentive plans. VisionLink's modeling and forecasting process broadened our horizons and expanded our view of how to use a good incentive system to build, retain and strengthen our senior management team. We remain impressed by their expertise, professionalism and great service."

James Keng
Jimway, Inc.

"Our firm has had a long-term incentive plan for over eight years but we never quite felt like it was firing on all cylinders. We hired VisionLink to re-energize our plan, and they did it! We now have a cohesive awards strategy that's fair to shareholders and valued by our employees. VisionLink's team is technically skilled and very creative. We're happy to recommend VisionLink to firms looking to upgrade their management incentive programs."

John M
FTO Inc.

"Our company was like VisionLink's typical clients. We were great at sales and haphazard at how we compensated our people. VisionLink's process brings great clarity and confidence to our growth planning - and makes compensation a great growth capability."

Dan Sullivan
Strategic Coach ©

"The team at VisionLink helped our company structure a long-term incentive plan that parallels the company's strategy for continued growth as a global market leader within our industry. Their approach resulted in a program that our corporate team and executives embraced on both a professional and personal basis. Through VisionLink's guidance and execution, we were able to create both a motivational tool for current team members and a recruiting device to attract future executive level associates. Well done!"

Mark Rhoades
Fluidmaster, Inc.

"As a leading direct seller of scrapbook photo albums and supplies, Creative Memories has independent consultants across the country. And for over six years now, VisionLink has helped us to stay connected and administer a voluntary 409A non-qualified plan for them. VisionLink has provided support for all aspects of our plan from notification of eligibility through registration and distribution. The VisionLink support team has offered suggestions for improving processes and provided us with outstanding service year after year."

Guy Walker
Creative Memories North America